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Fishing for red snapper opens Monday in the Gulf

Atlantic water remain closed for now to red snapper fishing

Capt Don Dingman, of the Hook The Future fishing show, dispays a snapper offshore from Jacksonville which was safely released after this photo.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Gulf waters in Florida will be open Monday for red snapper season. The recreational red snapper season for both Gulf state and federal waters will open June 11-July 20, closing July 21. 

Red snapper caught in the Gulf must measure 16-inch total length to be kept. The daily catch limit is two fish per person (included in the 10 per harvester per day state snapper aggregate bag limit). The charter captain and crew may not keep any snapper.

This recreational season includes those fishing for red snapper from private recreational vessels. Recreational participants must have Gulf Reef Fish Angler on their license before fishing for snapper from Gulf waters.

Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World and recreational saltwater fishing contributes $8 billion annually to Florida’s economy. Fishing is just one of Florida’s incredible natural treasures. Florida’s fishing, like the state’s world-renowned beaches, attract millions of visitors to the Sunshine State every year and led to Governor Rick Scott announcing this week that Florida experienced the highest quarter ever for tourism with more than 33 million visiting the state in the first quarter of 2018.

Last week, Scott announced that this Saturday and Sunday are license-free freshwater fishing days in Florida.

“Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World and now is the perfect time to get outdoors and go fishing. I am proud that Florida’s world-class fishing continues to attract visitors from around the world, fueling our incredible tourism industry which supports more than 1.4 million jobs across our state," Scott said in a statement. "I encourage all Florida families and visitors to spend time with their loved ones this weekend enjoying Florida’s beautiful outdoors and head out for red snapper next week.”

For red snapper season, this year and next year are unique compared to previous years in that Florida’s Gulf recreational red snapper season will be the same in both state and federal waters.

Anglers fishing from private recreational boats will need to have their recreational saltwater fishing license (unless exempt) and will need to have Gulf Reef Fish Angler on their license (includes those that are exempt) to target red snapper or other certain reef fish in Gulf state and federal waters (excluding Monroe County). 

Atlantic waters and red snapper

In late 2017, the Council also approved measures in Amendment 43 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan with the intent to have a mini red snapper season in 2018 in the Atlantic. The amendment would revise the process to calculate the annual catch limit for red snapper, allowing mini-seasons for red snapper beginning in July. If allowed, the recreational fishery would open the second Friday in July (July 13, 2018) and the commercial fishery the second Monday in July (July 9, 2018). The annual opening dates for the fishery were established through an earlier amendment.

No announcements have been made that would make the mini season red snapper days official for the Atlantic yet. 


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